Print advertising spend in the West is in decline as ad dollars move to digital, but have print industries in advanced economies put the worst behind them?
Magazines and newspaper advertising is in negative growth in the UK, Australia, Italy, Spain, and Germany, according to data from WARC's Advertising Consensus Forecast - but the rate of decline is slowing, with 2014 forecast to be a much stronger year than the previous two.
These latest figures from WARC, which collate forecasts from agencies, media monitoring companies, analysts and its own team, feature a downgraded forecast of growth across all segments, but there's still a chink of light for print publishers.
Global ad spend across all segments is forecast to go up by four percent this year and 5.5 percent next year. This is all part of the two inaliable trends in global advertising which is becoming a) more global and b) more digital. Both trends are clearly influencing WPP's acqusition strategy.
The graph below shows the trajectory of magazine ad spend between 2012 and 2014.
By 2014, WARC predicts the decline in print ad spend in magazines in the UK will be just 1.4 percent year-on-year, compared to a 7.1 percent drop in 2012. Other European markets are improving at a similar rate.
However, in the US, WARC predicts the decline in magazine ad spend will accelerate, from 4 percent this year to 5.1 percent in 2014. For US newspapers, WARC is predicting a brief respite this year, with declines of just 6.7 percent compared to 7.2 percent in 2012, but a resumption of bad news in 2014 when WARC forecasts a 8.4 percent decline in US newspaper ad spend.
Leaving aside the US, the picture for developed nations' newspaper and magazine ad spend is encouraging.
But it's difficult to tell whether this improved future for magazine and newspaper ad spend is down to renewed enthusiasm for those formats, or just a return to business as usual with natural structural decline overtaking recessionary shrinkage.
Internet growth continues
For other forms of advertising however, things are definitely looking up. Global ad spend across all segments is forecast to go up by four percent this year and 5.5 percent next year.
It's internet advertising which is growing most rapidly, by 13.8 percent this year and 13.3 percent next, but all other segments covered by Warc except newspapers and magazines are also growing.
BRIC's bet on rise of print
Publishers in emerged countries will look enviously at the accelerating growth in three of the fastest-growing markets in the world:
-- China: Newspaper spend down: 1.4 percent; magazine spend up: 10.5 percent.
-- Brazil: Newspaper spend up 13.9 percent; magazine spend: up 1.1 percent.
-- India: Newspaper spend up: 12.9 percent; magazine spend: up 10.7 percent.
Is this a print ad recovery? Not likely. The most probable cause for the improvement in print ad spend is simply that the impact of the recession is being strippped out, leaving just the structural impact of the shift from print to the web. Don't expect print ad spend in mature markets to increase anytime soon.
Image by ilamont.com on Flickr via a Creative Commons licence.